Eight capabilities your organisation needs to move forward with AI


EY's Brian Lewkowics will deliver a talk about SA's AI outlook beyond 2019 at the Finance Indaba.

“While the hype of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its potential role as a driver of transformational change to business and industries is pervasive,” says EY partner Brian Lewkowicz, “there are limited insights into what companies are actually doing to reap its benefits.” 

On 16 October, Brian will be speaking at the Finance Indaba. His session, titled “Artifical Intelligence in South Africa: An outlook for 2019 and beyond”, will take place in Ballroom 4 of the Sandton Convention Centre at 2pm. 

Brian’s session aims at getting a deeper understanding of how companies currently manage their AI activities, and how they address the current challenges and opportunities ahead. 

One of the interesting things he will be elaborating on is that, according to research, 83 percent of companies report involvement in artificial technologies at C-Suite level and 46 percent are actively piloting AI technologies. 

“Although we look at what companies are doing, the research shows the eight capabilities organisations should be creating,” Brian added,

He explained that these eight most recognised capabilities needed to move you forward in your AI agenda are broken down into two sections.

The human skills capabilities are:

  • AI leadership to support transformation, 
  • an open culture in which people embrace change and collaborate, 
  • emotional intelligence to apply behavioural science capabilities to understand and mimic human behaviour, and 
  • agile development incorporating cross-functional teams and iterative processes.

The tech skills are: 

  • advanced analytics – employing specialised data science skills, 
  • data management so that data can be captured, stored, structured and accessed so that the AI infrastructure can work, 
  • external alliances with third-party solutions providers, including universities and tech startups, and 
  • emerging technology, which means the organisation-wide capability to continuously discover, explore and derive value from new solutions.

“We carried out a maturity assessment to see how important organisations think these skills are and how competent they believe they are in the skills,” Brian continued. “The biggest gap was in the AI leadership area, which was rated as one of the most important, but from a capability point of view was marked as the weakest.”

Brian joined EY in 2016 as an associate director, where he was responsible for establishing and growing the company’s Intelligent Automation teams within the South African and African business with a focus on Robotic Process Automation (RPA). 

Prior to joining EY, Brian was the senior manager of global operations at IMS Health. Before that he provided business intelligence consulting to AFS Group

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Finance Indaba Africa is the biggest annual expo and conference for finance professionals. The Finance Indaba brings together thousands of colleagues, suppliers of technologies, platforms, tools, specialists, CFOs and thought leaders. Over 5,000 visitors tap into a wealth of resources, know-how and inspiration during 100+ free CPD seminars, unparalleled networking and an exhibition that showcases 100s new solutions for finance teams.

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